Renato Guttuso, painter: biography and curiosity

Renato Guttuso, painter: biography and curiosity

Renato Guttuso was a Sicilian painter, writer and politician; let's retrace the life and long career of this multifaceted figure of the last century

Renato Guttuso was born in Bagheria on January 2, 1912. His father Gioacchino, an agronomist by profession, was of liberal, Mazzinian ideas; moreover, he wrote poetry, played the piano, painted. His mother, Giuseppina d’Amico, was a housewife, had a good ear for music and enjoyed poetry. Renato attends elementary schools in Bagheria, gymnasium and high school in Palermo, but since his adolescence his passion has been painting. In Bagheria he often visits the workshop of Domenico Quattrociocchi, of the post-impressionist and naturalist school, and that of Emilio Murdolo. Later, in Palermo, he attended the studio of the painter Pippo Rizzo, futurist. Having obtained his classical high school diploma in 1930, he enrolled in the Law Faculty of the University of Palermo, to leave it the following year and devote himself entirely to painting. His first exhibition is from 1928, at the Sicilian Trade Union Exhibition. In 1931 he participated in the First National Quadrennial of Art in Rome with two paintings, "Mediterranean" and "Women at the fountain", admitted by the jury. In 1932 he took part in the exhibition "Group of Sicilian painters" organized at the Galleria del Milione in Milan. He also collaborates with the newspaper "L’Ora" in Palermo with articles on Mafai, "In death by Scipione, Picasso and modern painting".

In 1934 he exhibited again at the Galleria del Milione in Milan. Also in Milan, in 1935-36, Renato Guttuso performed his military service and made friends, which are also bonds of cultural solidarity, with Sassu, Birolli, Fontana, Manzù, Treccani, with the critics de Grada and Morosini, with the architects Persico and Pagano, with the philosopher Banfi and with the poet Quasimodo. In 1937 he settled in Rome and the studio in Piazza Melozzo da Forlì soon became the meeting place of the Roman intelligentsia, in a climate that already tastes of the branches compared to the dominant culture. Meet Mimise Dotti here, who will become his wife a few years later. In 1938 he had his personal exhibition at the La Cometa Gallery in Rome and began to paint the "Shooting in the countryside" dedicated to the memory of the Spanish poet Garcia Lorca. The following year he exhibited at the III Quadrennial in Rome, participated in the second "Corrente" exhibition at the Galleria Grande in Milan and wrote articles and essays for the magazines "Le Arti" and "Primato"; also in 1939 the "Selvaggio" by Mino Maccari dedicates a number to the works of Guttuso. In 1940 he was the protagonist of an exhibition in Genoa, introduced by Alberto Moravia; here the painter exhibits "Portrait of Montale" which unleashes the enthusiasm of the collector Della Ragione and a first real assessment of his paintings in a market sense.

The same year he joined the Italian Communist Party. Between 1931-42 he painted the "Crucifixion" which aroused violent controversy. In 1944 he took part in the Resistance, while in 1945 he made numerous trips to France, where he met Pablo Picasso, becoming friends with him. In 1948 he participated with the artists belonging to the "New Front of the Arts" at the XXIV Venice Biennale and was appointed a member of the World Peace Council at the Warsaw Congress. In 1950 he exhibited the large picture "Occupation of uncultivated lands in Sicily" at the Venice Biennale and organized an exhibition at the Hannover Gallery in London. In 1951 he was elected member of the Central Committee of the PCI by the VII Congress and was re-elected in the following ones. In 1954 Renato Guttuso is the protagonist of a traveling exhibition in Eastern Europe; the same year he exhibited the painting "Boogie-Woogie" in Venice. In 1955 he took part in the Rome Quadrennial with 9 paintings; the presentation of the catalog is entrusted to Elsa Morante. In 1958 he exhibited 37 paintings and 85 drawings, watercolors and pastels at the ACA Gallery and at the Heller Gallery in New York. In 1960 he participated with a personal room at the Venice Biennale. The following year he exhibited with Manzù at the Galleria La Nuova Pesa in Rome; in addition, an anthological exhibition with 150 of his works is brought to the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and the Leningrad Hermitage.

In 1966 he created the autobiographical cycle which includes 36 paintings, almost all large, and 62 between watercolor drawings. The complete series was exhibited the following year in Darmstadt and then in Antwerp, Hamburg, Prague and Ferrara. In 1967 an anthological exhibition was presented in East Berlin. In 1970 his collection of drawings made between 1930 and 1970 was introduced by Giuseppe Ungaretti. In 1971 the Sicily Region prepared an anthological exhibition of his creative work in the Palazzo dei Normanni; the catalog is enriched by writings by Leonardo Sciascia. In 1972 he painted "The funeral of Togliatti", a painting that is exhibited at the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Bologna; the same year, "Painter's profession" was released, a book that collected his writings on art and society. He is awarded the Lenin Peace Prize. During the seventies, Renato Guttuso exhibited in Milan, West Berlin, Moscow, Prague, Budapest, Venice, Rome, Geneva, Turin, Todi, Cologne, Verona, Stockholm and London. In 1978 his exhibition of drawings, including a series of studies by Michelangelo, was presented at the Museum of the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi. In 1976 and 1979 he was elected senator of the republic. The painter died in isolation on January 18, 1987.

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